When the stock market goes up or down, credit and blame accrues to the president. Mostly unfair in a global economy, of course, but that’s how Americans judge it.
Call it the “Pottery Barn Rule — If You Break It, You Own It”.
No clearer example of this than the post-Trump election stock market rally.
Before the election, Democrats said the robust stock market levels proved President Obama made headway in pulling the economy out of the Great Recession. Republicans said “phooey”, saying the economy is still in a hole with stagnant worker wages and GDP. Conventional wisdom claimed that a Clinton victory would continue the Obama rally while a Trump victory would be a disaster.
Then, Trump startled the world with a big win and what happens? The stock market jumps to record highs and partisan arguments totally flip.
Republicans call the rally a validation of Trump’s victory and confidence in his businesses acumen. Democrats now say “phooey”, or worse.
Consider Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California.
“I’m appalled that the reaction to Tuesday’s election on Wall Street is record highs for bank stocks,” said Waters. “Short lived increases in the stock market are not the same as real, hard-earned economic growth, and the demise of the regulations Wall Street is cheering are the same regulations that have made our consumers, investors and economy safer and more resilient.”
One can never be sure with Ms. Waters, but I think in her own way she just called the stock market rally racist. Whatever.
My point isn’t to make Maxine Waters look any sillier than she already manages to do by herself. I simply point out that the stock market has done well during the second term of the Obama presidency. If it tanks during the Trump presidency, then the Pottery Barn Rule will apply:
If you break it, Mr. Trump, you own it.
(Sherman Frederick is a longtime Nevadan and a founder of Battle Born Media, the publisher of this newspaper and five others in the state. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)